There are a lot of different techniques for dealing with stress, but sometimes the best ones are the simplest. The next time you’re feeling stressed, focus on your breath.
According to The American Institute of Stress, breathing is a stress buster that works for everyone by helping you “feel connected to your body — it brings your awareness away from the worries in your head and quiets your mind.”
Here are some breathing exercises that beat stress in just a few minutes.
The 6-Second Smile-and-Breathe Exercise
A smile, in combination with purposeful breathing and visualization, is a powerful way to combat stress. This exercise takes only six seconds. Repeat the routine a few times until you feel calm.
- Smile with your eyes and your mouth (a real smile) to help you relax shoulder tension.
- Imagine a hole in the soles of your feet. Take a deep breath and visualize hot air traveling up your legs through the abdomen to your lungs.
- As the air moves through your body, relax the muscles along its path.
- When you exhale, reverse the process and visualize the air moving through your body and out the imaginary holes in the soles of your feet.
Combat Tactical Breathing
You can learn to relax on demand using the same exercise the military uses on the battlefield. The trick is to visualize the numbers as you count.
- Take a slow, deep breath to the count of four.
- Hold to the count of four.
- Exhale to the count of four.
- Repeat three to five times, or until you feel relaxed.
Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 Breath
This is one of the fastest breathing exercises that beat stress — it takes less than a minute. For the duration of the exercise, hold your tongue against the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth.
If that’s uncomfortable, just purse your lips. Inhale silently through your nose with your mouth closed. When you exhale through your mouth, make a whooshing sound. Watch Dr. Weil demonstrate 4-7-8 breathing.
- Start by exhaling through your mouth.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to the count of four.
- Hold your breath to the count of seven.
- Exhale through your mouth to the count of eight.
What techniques do you use to reduce stress? Let us know by commenting below.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.